Wednesday 17 January 2018

Varadkar and Fine Gael ministers discuss election efforts

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar Photo: Gerry Mooney
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar Photo: Gerry Mooney
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

TAOISEACH Leo Varadkar and his team of Fine Gael ministers have discussed the need for the party to step up its preparation ahead of the next general election.

Mr Varadkar convened a meeting of his senior and junior ministers at Government Buildings this evening as part of his bid to revive the Fine Gael party.

The meeting heard how each minister must engage in a series of constituency visits over the coming months as well as appointment specific staff to liaise with both government and the parliamentary party.

While several sources present said there was no suggestion that an election is imminent, it was recognised that the party must beef up its preparation efforts.

“There was a discussion about the feeling on the ground and how we need to improve overall,” said one minister present.

Addressing the meeting, Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan warned those present that he is not prepared to deal with representations on issues such as visa applications and individual cases.

The meeting, which lasted around 90 minutes, indicates a change of approach from the Fine Gael leadership.

While Fianna Fáil meeting Micheál Martin meets his front bench every week, Fine Gael did not adopt this particular approach under Enda Kenny.

Addressing his ministers, Mr Varadkar said the meeting will be held each month and focus on how the party - as well individual ministers - are performing.

“Leo was keen to emphasis his desire to connect with his ministers,” said a source present.

General Secretary Tom Curran and party chairman Martin Heydon also addressed the meeting.

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